King's Cross shedmaster makes pilgrimage to Yorkshire as Mallard bids farewell

By Christian Engel | 11 April 2014

A former shedmaster has crossed the country to meet two magnificent locomotives before their Transatlantic travel

A photo of a man standing in front of an enormous blue locomotive steam engine
Peter Townend meets the Dominion of Canada© Courtesy NRM
Peter Townend, who was Shedmaster at London King's Cross between 1956 and 1961, travelled 300 miles from his home in Torquay to see Mallard’s two sister A4 steam locomotives, Dwight D Eisenhower and the Dominion of Canada, at the National Railway Museum for the last time.

They have been in Shildon since February, when they were exhibited with their four sisters to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Mallard breaking the land speed record, but will return to their home museums of the National Railroad Museum in the USA and the Canadian Railway Museum on April 22.

“I have seen the A4s as they were built and have ridden on them since the 1940s”, said Townend, who was born in 1925 and worked in the railway business for 43 years.

“I had 19 A4s allocated, including the two from America and Canada. I wanted to come and see them on display for a final time. It has been great seeing them today.

Townend has written several books about his life on the railways, including the title Top Shed and, more recently, LNER Pacifics Remembered.

“An early memory was to see the Silver Jubilee pass through Doncaster on its inaugural down run,” he reflected.

“I started my career in 1941 and retired from the railways in 1984.

“I was first employed as a Premium Apprentice at Doncaster Plant Works in 1941, and then I worked in the Drawing Office from 1946-49.

“I then went on to work at the Motive Power Department from 1949 and worked in the Norwich division, Cambridge and Liverpool St Head Quarters until I was appointed Shedmaster at Hatfield in 1955.”

Visitors can see the two locomotives at the museum until April 21.

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More on Mallard 75:

Cheerleaders see off Eisenhower and Canada as Railway Museum bids Mallard farewell

Mallard 75: The 76-year history of the mighty Dwight D Eisenhower A4 locomotive

Mallard tours from York to Doncaster and Chesterfield in East Coast Mainline tour
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